Today Belize is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Barrier Reef System being inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To commemorate the momentous occasion, a World Heritage Site Forum will be held at the Bliss Institute of Performing Arts in Belize City from 7:00-9:00 p.m tonight.
The Belize Barrier Reef System was dubbed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 1996. The Belize Barrier Reef System is the largest barrier reef complex in the Northern and Western Hemisphere and is also the second largest barrier reef system in the world. It provides habitat to a plethora of migratory birds and threatened marine species such as the West Indian manatee, the American crocodile and marine turtles.
Belizeans in the Tourism and Fisheries Sector have relied greatly on the reef for their livelihood. Comprised of seven marine protected areas which make up 12 percent of the entire reef complex of Belize, the seven sites include: Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve, the world famous Blue Hole Natural Monument, Half Moon Caye Natural Monument, South Water Caye Marine Reserve, Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve, Laughing Bird Caye National Park and the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve.
Larry France, Marketing Manager of Chabil Mar Resort on the scenic Placencia peninsula said the 20th anniversary of Belize’s Barrier Reef being designated a World Heritage Site is a cause for celebration.
“Chabil Mar takes great pride in promoting sustainable eco-tourism practices and contributing to the welfare of the Belize’s Barrier Reef, he added.
Chabil Mar offers a variety of tours and packages that includes snorkeling and scuba diving the pristine barrier reef and has partnered with the award winning dive centers of Placencia village to provide a bountiful combination of luxury accommodations, resort amenities and dive services.
Travelers who wish to enjoy the beauties and wonders of Belize will definitely enjoy a stay at Chabil Mar.
Visit our website www.chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize, and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in planning a Belize barrier reef vacation.
Already a popular vacation destination, tourism is expected to increase to Belize following the broadcast of the new World of Wild documentary. Written, created, and produced by award-winning Canadian filmmaker Garine Tcholakian, the six-part documentary contains an in-depth look at the wildlife in Belize.
Tcholakian, who was five months’ pregnant during the filming of the new documentary on Belize, used her talent to bring viewers an up close and personal look at wildlife in Belize. Some of the animals featured in the documentary include coral snakes, one of the most poisonous reptilian species on the planet, tarantulas, sharks, and black howler monkeys.
Speaking to the press, Tcholakian emphasized that her upbringing in Canada left her terrified of wild creatures, including tarantula species featured in World of Wild. “Tarantulas are actually very fragile and beautiful, if you just give them a chance,” said Tcholakian. The director later added that she was inspired by locals in Belize and their respectful and protective attitudes towards nature.
World of Wild will be airing on Canadian and American travel channels in 2017. Many in Belize look forward to seeing the documentary air as well as the subsequent rise in Canadian visitors interested in exploring the many natural wonders of Belize.
The World of Wild documentary will be hosted by Mike Corey, one of Canada’s top travel bloggers. World of Wild was sponsored by some of Belize’s top resorts, including the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, Calicko Jacks Village Resort, Cahal Pech Village Resort, and Chabil Mar.
“The wild natural heritage of Belize is something that visitors greatly enjoy,” said Larry France, the marketing director of Chabil Mar. “Unfortunately, many visitors who grew up in urban environments may have an exaggerated fear of wildlife. We heartily welcome documentaries like World of Wild that showcase nature in Belize at its finest.”
Chabil Mar is a multiple award-winning luxury resort located on the Placencia Peninsula in southeastern Belize conveniently located to all of the top offshore and mainland attractions in the country. Guests of the resort can enjoy complete beach and rainforest packages, designed to ensure that travelers experience the best of both worlds in Belize. Guests will be able to visit the locations shown in the documentary as well as getting the chance to see the wildlife showcased in World of Wide.
Destination Wildlife, a publication focusing on promoting the responsible tourism, has recently published an article featuring travel to Gladden Spit and the Silk Cayes in Belize. The article noted that the Belize Barrier Reef, of which both Gladden Spit and the Silk Cayes are a part, are home to endangered sea turtle species as well as an important migratory destination for whale sharks.
The Destination Wildlife article focused on a number of different reasons why sustainable tourism to the region is so popular. Visitors can marvel at more than 30 species of reef fish that use the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve for spawning. This large-scale agglomeration of juvenile fish species is the main reason why migrating whale sharks visit the area every year, rising from the depths to feed on this abundance of food. Destination Wildlife also noted that the protected sandy beaches of the Silk Cayes serve as nesting sites for endangered species like the hawksbill turtle.
Destination Wildlife highlighted the fact that a collection of conservationist individuals and organizations are responsible for having the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes area declared a protected marine reserve in the year 2000. A number of residents from Placencia in Belize formed a group called The Friends of Nature (FoN) in 1993 in order to protect the area from long-term human impact. After successfully lobbying to have Laughing Bird Caye declared a national park in 1996, the FoN then convinced the Belize government to designate Gladden Spit and the nearby Silk Cayes a protected marine in 2000.
Destination Wildlife is an adherent of the guidelines and ideas of the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism. Destination Wildlife believes that a holistic cooperation between private and individual stakeholders is the best way to preserve cultural heritages and conserve the environment. The Cape Town Declaration was formulated during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2002, a global conference attended by 280 delegates from around the globe.
The award-winning resort of Chabil Mar on the Placencia Peninsula offers guests a number of comprehensive scuba diving packages that include diving with whale sharks for visitors who want to explore the natural wonders found at Gladden Spit and the Silk Cayes. Chabil Mar also offers guided tours of the Monkey River, scuba diving packages of the Blue Hole, and trips to other top attractions on both land and sea in Belize.
Sea Turtles Thrive in Glover’s Reef
Good news has been reported from the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Belize Fisheries Department. According to a new study recently published in the journal Endangered Species Research, more than 1,000 young hawksbill sea turtles have been counted in the protected waters of Glover’s Reef Atoll on the Belize Barrier Reef.
Currently listed as an endangered species, the hawksbill turtle uses the sheltered inlets and shallow waters of Glover’s Reef Atoll for foraging and nesting. Thanks to a concentrated effort on behalf of the Belize government and non-profit wildlife organizations, the number of young hawksbill turtles in the area has risen since 2009 when in-water counting of the endangered species first began.
“Seeing an increasingly healthy and growing population of hawksbill turtles at Glover’s Reef is excellent news for other species throughout Belize and the greater Caribbean,” said Nicole Auil Gomez, the Belize country director for the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Glover’s Reef Atoll is a rare coral atoll located off the coast of Belize. As part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Reserve System, the second-largest barrier reef on the planet, protected locations like Glover’s Reef Atoll are essential for maintaining the region’s marine biodiversity.
The Wildlife Conservation Society, in conjunction with the Belize Department of Fisheries, have been conducting field research on sea turtles living in the coral reefs in and around Glover’s Reef Atoll since 2007. The recent study published by the Wildlife Conservation Society listed more than 1,000 hawksbill turtles as well as loggerhead and green sea turtles in the area, determining that the population was thriving. According to the report, the robust population of juvenile sea turtles is a positive indicator of long-term health of the species as well as proof that a well-managed protected marine zone can produce positive results.
“On behalf of everyone at the resort,” said Larry France, marketing manager of Chabil Mar, “we heartily support the ongoing conservation efforts at Glover’s Reef. Preserving and protecting the environment, including sea turtles, is an important step in keeping Belize wild and beautiful for generations to come.”
Chabil Mar, an award-winning resort located on the Placencia Peninsula in Belize, offers guests the opportunity to snorkel and scuba dive at places like Glover’s Reef on the Belize Barrier Reef. Travelers wishing to see sea turtles in their natural environment and enjoy the rich abundance of natural wildlife should consider staying at Chabil Mar for their scuba diving and snorkeling vacation.
December is easily one of the most popular months to visit Belize. With plenty of warm sunshine and fun festivals, there’s something exciting going on all month.
Here are a few festivals and events that you don’t want to miss in Belize in December:
End of the World Marathon
The End of the World Marathon first began on December 21, 2012 when many people around the world interpreted the ancient Maya calendar to predict the apocalypse on that date. After gaining widespread popularity, the End of the World Marathon has continued year after year, blossoming to become one of Placencia’s most popular events. Get more information on this event here.
Christmas is a very important holiday in Belize, and the locals love to celebrate with parades for adults and children. Don’t miss the famous Love FM Christmas Parade in Belize City where Santa and his elves share a bounty of goodies with the crowd.
In coastal areas like Placencia and Ambergris Caye, locals and visitors alike turn out to enjoy the sight of hundreds of boats parading by in a sea of lights, decorations, and enthusiastic cheers.
The Sport of Kings
For more than a century, horse racing has been an important past-time in Belize. The small village of Burrell Boom outside of Belize City is home to a big race on Boxing Day (December 26) and New Years Day (January 1). This is no elitist affair, but a big party where people from all walks of life enjoy the action.
Spelled a variety of ways, Junkanu is a traditional Garifuna dance developed at a time when African slaves had little to celebrate. Dancers don special garb to mock and ridicule their former European masters in a cavalcade of music, singing, and dancing.
Catholics in villages across Belize prepare for the birth of Jesus by re-enacting the pilgrimage of Joseph and Mary in their quest for room at the inn during the nine days leading up to Christmas Day.
No one needs reminding of the “reason for the season” in Belize as shops shut down to allow for family members to go to church and sing hymns. Many Belizeans herald the arrival of the big day with a midnight mass.
A full day of gifts, music, concerts, and lots and lots of delicious food. Don’t be surprised to hear traditional classics as carolers roam the streets to celebrate the big day. Christmas is also a great day to enjoy nature, hiking through the jungle, snorkeling and diving on the reef, or marveling at the enormous stone pyramids and temples left behind by the ancient Maya.
Celebrated both as Boxing Day, a holiday inherited from the long centuries of British rule, and as Kwanzaa, Belizeans keep the holiday season going strong to close out the year.
Where to stay in December
The multiple award-winning resort of Chabil Mar on the Placencia Peninsula is an oasis of luxury and beauty. With well-appointed villas ideal for families, honeymooners, or adventure travelers, Chabil Mar is a great resort to stay for your vacation in December.
Visit our website www.chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize, and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in planning a Belize vacation in December.